CHICAGO (CBS) – It’s a marriage proposal made in cyberspace, and one of the participants is a Chicago company. Groupon has skyrocketed from startup to worldwide phenomenon. Now Google wants to swallow it up — perhaps for as much as $6 billion.
CBS 2′s Dorothy Tucker reports on what it might mean to you and me.
Groupon is Chicago’s dot.com superstar. Located in Goose Island, the company employs 3,000 people around the world, reportedly hires 150 every month, and claims to have sold its daily deals to more than 18 million consumers.
“I love Groupon,” said a woman, who says she has bought things like massages, manicures and clothes on the popular site.
“Theater tickets, Cubs tickets, Sox tickets. They got everything,” said one man.
Why has Groupon been so popular?
“For consumers, Groupon launched at a time when consumers were very much interested in getting deals, especially for a lot of businesses that Groupon was offering vouchers for,” said Chicago Tribune “Digital Life” Columnist Wailin Wong.
But if the biggest search engine in the world takes over Groupon, will the deals change? Will the huge discounts disappear?
“I think that they’ll proceed cautiously because they’ve established a strong brand and a way of doing things, and if all of a sudden the discounts get smaller, you could see where their hundreds of millions of members across the world will find that very upsetting, and I think you have to be careful with that kind of thing,” said Wong.
Businesses like E. Leaven Food Company are also hoping a Google takeover won’t change Groupon. The bakery is the site’s featured deal Tuesday.
For every certificate consumers buy, Groupon gets 60 percent and the bakery keeps 40; but it’s exposed to scores of potential customers.
But if Google takes over, Eben Dorros of E. Leaven says he would probably sign up again.
“Depending on the model, probably, if it’s something similar to this,” said Dorros. “It’s been a wonderful experience so far.”
In response to a potential Google sale, Groupon says the company never comments on speculation.